This morning Henrik Fisker tweeted out a teaser for a sub-$40,000 Fisker SUV. The teaser image is pretty nice looking, in my opinion, but there has historically always been something about Fisker designs that simply don’t sit well with me, even though overall I love the rest of the design. In reviewing what it has generally been about Fisker designs that I don’t care for I realized something: every single time it has been the front grille.
Fisker Designs Over the Years
Here are the designs that I think are lovely if only the nose wasn’t so… dramatic.
Overall Fisker’s cars are full of striking, flowing lines, and often evoke an organic feel. I enjoy the resulting esthetic on the whole, but with every design, there’s always something about the front end that just doesn’t sit well with me. The eMotion features a less gaping front fascia than the others, which I find more appealing than prior designs. The as yet unnamed Fisker SUV is also in the latter camp in that I don’t dislike the grille, but it seems needlessly “busy” and not terribly aerodynamic.
Fisker SUV Stats
Enough about design, let’s talk numbers! To call the details in the tweet “specifications” would be a bit too big of a stretch. These are more like “aims” or “goals”, but I like them.
The statement “2nd half of 2021” is a tad nebulous and rather distant. Not that Tesla is known for hitting their launch targets with great consistency either. However with that loose target for a launch date, I would think that it will be quite some time before additional information will be revealed. It actually sounds like a lot of the announced stats are more like goals.
Fisker SUV Battery Capacity / Range
The stated battery capacity is +80kWh, which is a very generous amount for a vehicle in this price range. We can logically assume that this means a base battery capacity of over 80kWh, which itself is a vague figure. For argument sake, let’s say it’s 85kWh. To achieve “around 300mi range” it would require efficiency of 283wH per mile, which puts it in an efficiency class better than a Tesla Model S, which seems doubtful given the Model S’s low coefficient of drag.
Instead, what we may be seeing are unrelated specifications. As in “the base, sub-$40,000 model will have an 82kWh battery” but the top spec model with a significantly larger battery will go 300 miles on a charge.
Fisker SUV AWD Drivetrain
This is where a hypothetical Fisker SUV would beat the Model Y handily. It would appear that all variants of this SUV will be All Wheel Drive. This could of course be a case of Fisker listing all the best features in one tweet, regardless of if the base model actually contains them all or not; so who knows.
However, if they really are putting out an AWD SUV for under $40k they’re going to get a lot of attention. I know Elon Musk has said that you don’t need AWD for driving in the snow, and he’s technically correct, the fact of the matter is that an AWD vehicle is simply superior during inclement weather to any RWD vehicle when shod with the same rubber.
Additionally for anyone, like me, that is interested in activities that actually require going off the beaten path with our vehicle, AWD is nearly a non-negotiable feature.
Sales & Service
This, in my estimation, is one of the key takeaways from this tweet. Specifications and dates aside, the fact that it will be direct sales and franchised service shows a fundamental understanding of the challenge that any new automaker faces. It’s a difficult thing to manufacture thousands of automobiles. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to support that fleet, a lesson that Tesla has been the example of for several years now.
I believe this to be the best indication that they’ve thought this out, they’re already planning on building the service network now well before there is even a prototype that has been displayed at a car show.
The most troubling thing is that Fisker has had such a hard time actually shipping vehicles in the past. Hopefully this time will be different.
Q3/4 of 2021 is a very long time from now; practically a lifetime when it comes to the fast-changing world of EVs. It remains to be seen if Fisker is skating to where the puck will be or simply chasing it.
An electric SUV (and truck) is the key to breaking open the North American market, 2020 will be a pivotal year in that regard as more manufacturers jump on the bandwagon.
Jeep is rumored to be working on an EV. Rivian is getting its SUV / Truck platform ready. The Model X is here already, but prohibitively expensive for most people. The Model Y is on the way and will arrive before this Fisker SUV.
I applaud Fisker for wanting to bring an affordable utility vehicle to market. Hopefully they aren’t too late to the party.